RACINE – Officials with the Wisconsin Humane Society (WHS) are urging dog owners to have their dogs and puppies vaccinated against the deadly parvovirus after a handful of parvovirus cases in the past two weeks. Four puppies coming into WHS from the Racine community have had the deadly virus; two recovered from the virus after extensive treatment and will be available for adoption soon; unfortunately, the other two passed away.
The virus is not spreading at the shelter, nor is there an outbreak within the shelter, but the rise in parvo-positive dogs being brought to WHS has officials concerned.
“Parvo is a highly contagious and deadly virus,” explained veterinarian Dr. Nadine Langston with the Wisconsin Humane Society Racine Campus. “The virus is usually passed in stools and can last in the environment for years. Parvo affects both young dogs and unvaccinated adult dogs; for both, it is often fatal.”
Symptoms of the parvovirus include vomiting, diarrhea (which may be bloody), lethargy, pain, dehydration, sepsis, and death. Because parvo is a viral disease, there is no cure. Treatment is aimed at maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance, and preventing secondary bacterial infection.
“It is life-threatening to take your unvaccinated puppy outdoors in places where dogs frequent, such as dog parks,” said Dr. Langston. “It is a preventable illness, but several booster vaccines are necessary before your dog is fully protected, so young puppies are especially susceptible to contracting the illness.”
The parvo vaccine is part of routine veterinary vaccinations recommended for all puppies and dogs. The vaccine is generally administered around six weeks and is re-administered three to four additional times before a dog is a year old, and annually after that. All dogs who enter WHS are vaccinated immediately against parvovirus as a preventative measure.
If you suspect your dog or puppy has parvovirus, please see a veterinarian immediately.
You can get your dog vaccinated at the Wisconsin Humane Society at low-cost vaccine clinics, which are open to the public and no appointments are necessary. Pricing for dogs & cats is as follows: DHPP (distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, parvo) $18; Rabies only $18; Both DHPP & Rabies $30; Bordetella $20; Microchip $25. Other services may be available. The next clinics are:
- Thursday, August 29 (10 a.m. – 12 p.m.), WHS Racine Campus, 2706 Chicory Road, Racine
- Thursday, September 12 (10 a.m. – 12 p.m.), WHS Racine Campus, 2706 Chicory Road, Racine
- Thursday, September 26 (10 a.m. – 12 p.m.), WHS Racine Campus, 2706 Chicory Road, Racine
For more information about vaccine clinics and pricing, please visit wihumane.org/veterinary/